An unexpected walk

From Becca, a Wisconsin Lutheran College nursing student:

On Thursday, everyone left the Lutheran Seminary in Lusaka by 6:30 a.m. to depart for a rural clinic in Mwembezhi. Our two-hour bus ride was short compared to the drive last weekend to Livingstone. The last leg of our journey consisted of traveling on a dirt road and villagers stopping and waving at the bus full of “mzungus” (white people).

When we arrived at the clinic, there were more than 50 people gathered outside underneath mango trees waiting to be seen and receiving health education from the community health workers. It was “under five” day at the clinic, so the majority of the patients were women and their children under five years old.

Julia, Sarah, Courtney, and I provided health education to the patients on fire safety. Since women in the rural areas of Africa typically cook meals over a fire, they and their children are at risk for respiratory issues and burns. During our presentation, we had the privilege of working with an interactive interpreter who translated our presentation into Tonga, the local language. At the end, we demonstrated “stop, drop, and roll” – what to do if they were on fire. Everyone watching was surprised that nursing students from America were rolling around in the dirt!

The patients were responsive to our teaching, asked questions, and even thanked us for showing them how to stop, drop, and roll – a new concept for them. Overall, I think our health education in our two days at Mwembezhi – covering the topics of water sanitation, fire safety, oral hygiene, and HIV/AIDS – left an impact on the community.

After the clinic day was over, we loaded up on our bus to head for our lodging in Kamamba, a village about 3 km or 1.8 miles from the clinic. Our driver, Fasty, couldn’t get the bus to start. Whoa-oh. We all piled out and decided that our best shot was a push start. I personally don’t think you can bond any better with your fellow nursing students than sweating and pushing a bus on a dirt road in Zambia.

Unfortunately, our muscles did not start our bus. It turned out that it needed its battery changed. So we threw on our backpacks and pillows and began our 3 km walk to Kamamba. I loved our walk! We passed fields of cotton and maize (corn) and had the amazing opportunity to watch an African sunset out in the bush. Groups of children began following the trail of white people. We were pretty popular by the time we reached Kamamba, safe and sound!